From Kickstarter to Facebook: the full Oculus Rift story


Oculus Rift started as a breakout Kickstarter success, little more than an incredible demo involving sparks flying in a spaceship. But it evolved into something much more: Oculus VR became the face of the future of virtual reality. The company's eponymous headset has undergone a handful of revisions as it has simultaneously courted users and developers, promising an entirely new way to play games, watch movies, and ultimately interact with people both near and far. Yes, it involves strapping a huge object to your face that shields out the world around you, but it promised to be the true future of social interaction. We've seen the future of virtual reality with our own eyes.

Though Oculus has yet to release a true consumer product, it's already found a willing buyer in Facebook, which acquired the company in March of 2014 for $2 billion. This, Mark Zuckerberg said, might be the future — and not just the future of video games.

Facebook to acquire Oculus VR for $2 billion: 90 Seconds on The Verge

Below, you'll find the entire story of Oculus Rift, from its first public appearance through all of its development so far.

101 updates and 7668 comments below.

Jul 31 3:57p

New Oculus Rift dev kit uses the front of a Galaxy Note 3 as its screen

It doesn't get much more "off-the-shelf" than this: the new Oculus Rift developer kit uses the front half of Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 for a display. Samsung's logo is in its usual spot, and the frame even has slots where the phablet's home button, earpiece speaker, and various sensors would normally go. iFixit made the discovery while tearing down the Rift Dev Kit 2, which is now making its way to developers who ordered the VR headset earlier this year.

And while it's a strange thing to see,...

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Jul 30 9:28a

Ads are the new face of virtual reality

"So, what’d you think?" said the man who had gotten me into the cockpit of a Pacific Rim Jaeger.

I grinned. "Great! But I was a little disappointed that I didn’t fall or get eaten."

He looked at me quizzically. "Having a Kaiju punch into the cockpit and grab your partner wasn’t enough?"

"Yeah, I mean, it was cool. But it didn’t actually eat me, you know? I was really hoping for it."

The Oculus Rift has put me through a lot. I’ve skydived, been beheaded, flown spacecraft, slid in gondolas...

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Jul 01 10:27p

The final Oculus Rift developer kit ships this month

Virtual reality company Oculus has started shipping the next version of its VR headset, the Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2, to buyers. The company plans to send out roughly 10,000 of the devices from its factories in July, with half of those units with customers by the end of the month. The DK2, which Oculus says more than 45,000 people have pre-ordered at a price of $350, is set to be the final development model before the Facebook-owned Oculus releases a full consumer version of its Rift...

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Jun 25 5:03p

Oculus calls ZeniMax lawsuit an attempt to cash in on Facebook acquisition

Oculus VR has struck back at id Software owner ZeniMax over a lawsuit alleging that Oculus used stolen code to build its famous Rift headset. In a court filing today, Oculus paints ZeniMax's suit as opportunistic and claims unequivocally that its products do not use ZeniMax code. "ZeniMax’s complaint falsely claims ownership in Oculus VR technology in a transparent attempt to take advantage of the Oculus VR sale to Facebook," the filing reads, later saying, "There is not a line of ZeniMax...

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Jun 04 2:24p

Oculus hires former Valve business guru Jason Holtman

Oculus VR's hiring spree continues, as today the company announced that it has hired former Valve business guru Jason Holtman. Holtman most recently worked at Microsoft — though his tenure was short lived — but is best known for his work at Valve, where he served as director of business development, helping turn Steam into the massive platform that it is today. It sounds like his role at Oculus will be similar, with the company stating that Holtman will spearhead "the business development and...

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May 29 3:51p

An Oculus Rift, Wii Balance Board, and Kinect can become a virtual hoverboard

Oculus Rift virtual reality lends itself well to elaborate custom hardware, and that extends to novel combinations of existing peripherals. It also lends itself to living out cinematic fantasies, like Marty McFly's hoverboard chase sequence. And thus, advertising and design studio Quince has hacked together a Kinect, Wii Balance Board, and Oculus Rift to provide the three necessary elements of a hoverboard game: your body, the board, and a world to hover in. At least one other person has hit...

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May 21 3:02p

Oculus VR and its founder sued by ZeniMax and id Software

Oculus VR and its founder Palmer Luckey are being sued by id Software and its owner ZeniMax Media over claims that they illegally misappropriated trade secrets. The lawsuit, which was filed in a Texas court today, alleges that Luckey and his company used ZeniMax technology in order to build development tools for the Oculus Rift. It says that those actions represent contract breach, copyright infringement, and unfair competition, all things that ZeniMax says add up to an "enormous value."

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May 20 9:48a

Oculus Rift is coming to Chuck E. Cheese

Chuck E. Cheese is moving into virtual reality. The restaurant chain has just announced a new test program, which will see it use the Oculus Rift headset to simulate a ticket blaster — a large tube where prize tickets whizz around your head — at birthday parties. In the new version, you'll be able to grab virtual tickets that can be redeemed at an IRL merchandise counter. As of now the use of the Rift will be very limited, restricted to a six-week pilot program across three markets, including...

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May 05 3:42p

Oculus wants to build a billion-person MMO with Facebook

When Facebook purchased Oculus VR for $2 billion, both companies stayed fairly tight-lipped about their goals. The money would help Oculus build virtual reality headsets cheaper and better, while Facebook would have a chance to lead the next big computing platform. However, Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe just told an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt about one lofty possibility for the pair: building a massively multiplayer experience for one billion simultaneous users. "This is going to be an MMO...

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The Norwegian Army is using the Oculus Rift to drive tanks

It's hard to see when you're driving a tank, particularly when the hatch is closed for combat, but the Norwegian Armed Forces have hacked together a cool new solution using the Oculus Rift. By mounting cameras on the outside of the tank, soldiers were able to create a 360-degree VR feed for the driver. With the Rift, the driver has an unobstructed view of the surroundings, effectively seeing through the body of the tank in what one soldier compared to the vehicle view from a Battlefield game.



Oculus says ZeniMax canceled 'Doom 3' VR edition after being refused equity

After being threatened with legal action by id Software parent company ZeniMax, virtual reality frontrunner Oculus says it hasn't taken so much as a line of code from the company. Last week, ZeniMax said that the Oculus Rift VR headset couldn't have existed without help from John Carmack, who it accuses of giving Oculus intellectual property developed at and owned by ZeniMax. Carmack, who co-founded id but left to work at Oculus last year, was an early supporter of Oculus, and Oculus has...

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May 01 7:02p

One document could decide whether Oculus owes ZeniMax millions

The publisher of games like Doom, Quake, The Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Dishonored issued a legal challenge to virtual reality company Oculus VR earlier today. Since its former employee John Carmack helped improve the Oculus Rift VR headset, warned ZeniMax Media, Oculus would have to pay. Initially, Oculus laughed off the threat, characterizing it as a cash grab timed to intercept the $2 billion Facebook deal. But it turns out that ZeniMax has more than threats: it has Oculus founder Palmer...

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Oculus and Facebook face legal challenge from John Carmack's former employer

Long before Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion — before Oculus even launched its successful Kickstarter campaign — famed video game programmer John Carmack sparked a wave of interest in the virtual reality headset by showing off an early duct-taped prototype at game conventions. Now, it may come back to bite Oculus and Facebook in the ass. Now that John Carmack works for Oculus, his former employer ZeniMax Media claims that it owns part of the intellectual property in the headset, and...

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Apr 21 9:24a

Explore the bridge of 'Star Trek: Voyager' through Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift has been used to transport people everywhere from Jerry Seinfeld's fictional apartment to another human's body, and over the weekend, one developer began taking gamers someplace even a bit further from reality: to the bridge of Star Trek: Voyager's famous ship. The new virtual reality demo lets you walk around a fairly accurate recreation of the Voyager's bridge and even allows you to stare out into space as you whiz past distant stars. You'll be exploring the ship alone,...

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Apr 19 8:01a

Dying grandmother uses Oculus Rift to walk outside again

Roberta Firstenberg had long loved walking outside and caring for her garden. However, a hard battle with cancer had weakened her so that going outside was no longer possible. In a bid to give her one more view of the outside world, Roberta's granddaughter Priscilla, an artist, programmed an Oculus rift to give her grandmother the chance to walk again.

As The Rift Arcade reports, Priscilla reached out to Oculus last fall in the hopes of getting a dev kit Roberta could use. With the help of...

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Apr 11 1:18p

The godfather of nature documentaries is making one for the Oculus Rift

Sir David Attenborough may be 87 years old, but he's still embracing the latest technology. After spending 60 years sharing nature's marvels with documentary series like Planet Earth and Life, his latest work may appear in virtual reality. According to a report at Realscreen, the upcoming Conquest of the Skies is currently filming with a special eight-camera rig to deliver 360-degree video for users of the upcoming Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. While we don't actually know the subject...

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Apr 09 9:15a

Watch this: controlling a drone using an Oculus Rift

Here's one way to feel like you're flying. Berlin developer Diego Araos hooked up a Parrot AR drone to an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset in order to control the flyer's movements with head tracking. "Diego is going to drive the drone with his head," his companion says in a video uploaded to YouTube this week.

Araos and his friends pilot the drone through a park by nodding and rolling their heads from side to side while seeing what the drone sees through the Oculus video feed. Still, the...

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Mar 30 10:15a

John Carmack breaks silence on Facebook's Oculus acquisition

After almost a week of silence, legendary game developer and Oculus CTO John Carmack has finally voiced his opinions on Facebook's planned acquisition of the virtual reality headset maker. Replying to a blog post by chiptune musician Peter Berkman, Carmack says he "wasn't expecting Facebook" to purchase the company he joined last August. "I wasn't personally involved in any of the negotiations," he adds, "I spent an afternoon talking technology with Mark Zuckerberg, and the next week I find...

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Mar 28 2:30p

Sony vs. Facebook: the battle for your reality has just begun

Virtual reality is truly coming. There’s no longer any question. In the span of a single week, two titans emerged to proclaim that VR would be the future of their industries. Facebook and Sony, companies which respectively defined social networking and personal electronics, each validated what plucky startup Oculus VR had been saying all along: that virtual reality will be a bold new medium for gaming, for communication, and much, much more. Facebook’s play was to buy Oculus outright, s...

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Oculus VR hires Michael Abrash away from Valve as its new chief scientist

Oculus VR has a major hire — Michael Abrash will be leaving Valve to join Facebook's latest acquisition as its chief scientist. Abrash had been pioneering wearable technology at Valve for several years; as he writes on the Oculus blog, he had spent time developing augmented reality technology but came to realize that VR had far more potential than AR. This happened during the rise of Oculus over the last year and a half, with intelligence going back and forth between Valve and Oculus thanks...

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If you back a Kickstarter project that sells for $2 billion, do you deserve to get rich?

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset raised $2.4 million on Kickstarter, no strings attached. Those donors weren’t looking for a payout; they wanted to support something they believed in, and maybe get a pair of virtual reality goggles to play with. But when Facebook bought Oculus a year and a half later for $2 billion in cash and stock, backers wondered: what if I’d asked for equity instead of a poster? "I would have rather bought a few shares of Oculus rather than my now-worthless $300...

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Mar 27 12:30p

The VR Facebook of tomorrow is here today!

It exists, you know. Planet Facebook. Sure, Oculus and Facebook might have tried to keep it secret for a while, but secrets were meant to be shared.

I found it through the same pirate flatsite most people do. Some designers named Bronson Zgeb and Gruau Pomme Lackey said they "made" FaceRift, but it's just a quick cover, a feint to tie the lawyers up in a copyright knot. It won't work for long, but by the time Zuckerberg finds out, the FaceRift client will be installed on a million computers...

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Mar 26 3:06p

Virtual reality developers say it's 'too early to panic' about Facebook

Not everyone is happy about Facebook buying Oculus VR. Many who backed the original Kickstarter are concerned about the fate of the company, while the creator of Minecraft has said that he will no longer release a version of the game for the platform simply because he doesn't like the social network. But not everyone is so pessimistic. In fact, a number of developers — those who will actually be making the virtual reality games that will make the Rift awesome — actually seem optimistic that...

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Will Facebook ruin Oculus? Kickstarter backers voice concerns

Once upon a time, the Oculus Rift headset was a prototype with a blurry screen bound with gaffer’s tape. But 9,522 people saw the device’s potential, donating $2.4 million through Kickstarter to get early versions built and shipped to game developers. They wanted to see Oculus build "the future of virtual reality." They didn’t expect it to get bought by Facebook.

"I cannot put into words how betrayed I feel by this," backer Sergey Chubukov writes on the Oculus Kickstarter comment page. "I...

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Facebook won't rebrand the Oculus Rift headset and interface

Oculus VR has a new owner, but Facebook won't completely mold the virtual reality company's flagship product into its own image. Though a report from the New York Times claimed that Facebook is planning to eventually rebrand the Oculus Rift experience — redesigning the hardware and updating it with "a Facebook interface and logo" — a Facebook representative now says that won't happen. The company told TechCrunch that the NYT statement about rebranding was "not true and not in the spirit of...

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Mar 25 9:54p

Greetings from Planet Facebook

Q: Why did Facebook buy Oculus VR? A: To own the internet Continue reading »


Oculus founder says Facebook deal will make virtual reality cheaper and better

One year ago, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey told me that his virtual reality headset company had no intention to sell. He said that the team had agreed, for the time being, to stay independent — to make sure that it didn't have to cater to another company's business strategy in order to further its goals. When Oculus raised $100 million in funding, it seemed that independence was assured, even though the company picked up a few new bosses along the way. But today, Facebook bought Oculus for $2...

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Oculus investor says Facebook purchase is like 'Google buying Android in 2005'

Facebook announced today that it was acquiring virtual reality darling Oculus Rift for $2 billion in cash and stock. The transaction left a lot of people scratching their heads: Oculus has been focused on high-end gaming applications, a market where Facebook has little to no experience.

According to sources familiar with the deal, Oculus investors had offered the company more money to go it alone, but trying to compete with titans like Sony — which just showed its Project Morpheus headset...

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'Minecraft' creator cancels Oculus Rift version following Facebook acquisition

Minecraft creator Markus Persson has revealed that an Oculus Rift version of the game was potentially in the works, but following the sudden news that Facebook has acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion, that's no longer the case. "I just cancelled that deal," Persson tweeted. "Facebook creeps me out." He later expanded on his reasoning in a blog post, citing in particular Facebook's constantly changing platform, which has proved a challenge for game developers.


Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion

Facebook plans to purchase Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, for $2 billion. The deal is comprised of $400 million in cash and 23.1 million shares of Facebook stock. Facebook announced its surprise purchase via a blog post. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also revealed Facebook's reasons for the deal. "Oculus's mission is to enable you to experience the impossible. Their technology opens up the possibility of completely new kinds of experiences," Zuckerberg says. "Immersive...

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Mar 21 8:47p

The GameFace shows why Android isn't ready to power a VR headset

Since day one, Oculus has promised that its prototype virtual reality headset would one day support Android tablets and phones, but the company has never explained precisely how such a system might work. Now, we have some idea: GameFace Labs is showing off a prototype of an Android-based VR headset here at GDC 2014.

Unfortunately, the GameFace Mark IV prototype is pretty terrible in its current state. Though it uses a crisp 1080p screen like the latest Oculus Rift — and the exact same lens...

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Mar 19 11:00a

World-builders, rejoice: the final Oculus Rift VR dev kit is here

One year ago today, Oculus introduced the first version of its prototype virtual reality headset that wasn't literally held together with duct tape and glue. The $300 Oculus Rift Development Kit showed the world that inexpensive VR headgear was capable of being mass produced. Now, at the 2014 Game Developers Conference, the company is introducing development kit number two.

Starting today, Oculus is taking pre-orders for the Oculus Rift DK2, a refined version of the Crystal Cove prototype...

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Mar 11 2:08p

Oculus VR expands to Seattle to attract even more talent

With over $100 million in funding, Oculus has expanded its virtual reality ambitions a little bit. Now, the startup is also expanding its offices. Today, the company announced that it will open a new office in the Seattle area, home to Microsoft, Amazon, and Valve Corporation.

The move isn't particularly surprising, because Oculus VR has been working closely with Valve on virtual reality, and appears to be hiring people away from Valve's own VR research and development team. Last year,...

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Mar 08 4:33a

Sony's Oculus Rift competitor could be coming this month

Sony is widely rumored to be working on a virtual reality headset to compete with the Oculus Rift, and the truth could be revealed quite soon. Sony has just revealed it will host a new session at the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, titled "Driving the Future of Innovation at Sony Computer Entertainment." Unlike most presentations at the conference, this particular session has an extremely short description that doesn't reveal what to expect, saying only that Sony will host a...

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Mar 07 12:11p

'Game of Thrones' and the Oculus Rift took me from Austin to Westeros

The elevator at Castle Black rumbled beneath my feet. Cold air blasted against my face, reminding me yet again how hostile the environment was here at the Wall, the home of the Night's Watch. At the top, I looked down across the realm from the dizzying, almost impossible heights. I reached out to steady myself, the wind howling in my ears. That's when the scary part began.

Last month in New York HBO launched the latest version of Game of Thrones: The Exhibition. It's a museum-style tour...

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Mar 04 10:37a

Explore Jerry Seinfeld's apartment on Oculus Rift

Seinfeld might not be on TV anymore, but it is on Oculus Rift. Jerry's Place VR lets you use the virtual reality headset to explore the iconic apartment from the show and... well, that's about it. It's simply a static environment that you can walk around, wondering what it would be like if Kramer suddenly burst through the door. And it's surprisingly detailed, right down to the Superman statue on the shelf and the magazines on the coffee table. "I've been a fan of Seinfeld for a long time,"...

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Feb 28 3:56a

Valve's virtual reality headset might be better than the Oculus Rift

Valve has been vocal in its support of virtual reality technology, saying that "compelling, consumer-priced VR hardware" could "transform the entertainment industry." Valve says it has offered help to Oculus as it works on the Rift headset, but the Bellevue-based developer is also apparently working on its own virtual reality hardware. A poster on gaming super-forum NeoGAF says he was invited to see and use that prototype after it was shown to a few game developers at the recent Steam Dev...

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Feb 25 11:54a

'Pokemon' gets a virtual reality makeover for Oculus Rift

With Pokemon X and Y, Nintendo finally brought the long-running series into the world of 3D — but not like this. Much like the recent Legend of Zelda remake, Pokemon 3D takes a Nintendo classic and reimagines it for the Oculus Rift. The result is a game that looks sort of like a mashup of Minecraft and a Gameboy game, complete with big chunky pixels. It's based on Pokemon Gold and Silver, which were first released more than a decade ago, and the developers say that they "focused on the strong...

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Feb 22 12:17a

'Legend of Zelda' remake for the Oculus Rift lets you become Link

The Legend of Zelda series may have gone 3D many years ago, but an enterprising Oculus Rift developer is taking things a step further by recreating the original, NES Legend of Zelda game in a virtual reality world. The combination of the original game's blocky, 8-bit style plus a first-person viewpoint is completely unique for the Zelda series, and iconic moments like entering the cave to retrieve your first sword look entirely different than they do in the original.

Right now, only the...

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Feb 19 9:54a

Explore the first movie filmed for the Oculus Rift with an interactive trailer

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset won't just be a games platform — it already supports 3D movie and 360-degree photo viewing. Today, though, we're getting a hint of what we may see from the first professionally produced VR movie. Short documentary "Zero Point" is a project by Condition One, an immersive video startup backed by Mark Cuban. Condition One's earlier projects let iPad users "move" through footage with a 180-degree field of vision, a more limited version of what the Rift...

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Feb 05 12:55p

'EVE Valkyrie' will be an Oculus Rift exclusive

With $75 million in funding, Oculus VR decided that building a virtual reality headset wasn't enough. The company hired an Electronic Arts veteran to start publishing games under the Oculus brand as well. Now, the company has announced the first game to be co-published as part of that program, and it's not much of a surprise: head-controlled space dogfighting game EVE: Valkyrie will be an Oculus Rift exclusive when it arrives later in 2014.

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Feb 04 3:27p

The real reason John Carmack left id Software

When Doom programmer John Carmack left the company he founded to go work on the Oculus Rift, the assumption was that Carmack had traded a stale job for an opportunity to pursue his hobby — virtual reality — instead. His former studio, id Software, suggested as much in a statement at the time he left, saying that Carmack had "become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id."

Apparently, that's not quite true. The real reason that Carmack left id, he tells USA Today,...

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Jan 29 9:00a

Oculus Rift at Sundance: games are just the beginning

Sundance describes the New Frontier portion of its annual film festival as a "creative space" for "multimedia performances, transmedia experiences," and other interactive art forms. This year that translated into a room of pure sensory overload: orange-red walls with matching plush couches, video projections, and in one corner, five stations gilded in chrome. That’s where a constant stream of visitors would sit down, plug in, and get transported into another world.

Oculus had come to...

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Jan 25 7:14p

EverQuest Next could be the first MMORPG to support the Oculus Rift

Since the release of the Oculus Rift development kit, many major game developers have been experimenting with virtual reality in their labs. Now, another one of them has come forward in support of the technology: Sony Online Entertainment, the company behind EverQuest. Now, it sounds like the upcoming EverQuest Next will offer some kind of support for the technology.

Last August, the company teased possible support for the virtual reality headset in a behind-the-scenes video for EverQuest...

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Jan 21 9:42a

An Oculus Rift art exhibit shows wearers what it's like to swap bodies

Roughly a quarter of all ASP users are unable to comfortably assimilate the subjective body picture of the opposite sex. Over the years some broadcast ASP stars have become increasingly androgynous in an attempt to capture this segment of the audience.

Jan 20 4:34a

Valve says virtual reality hardware could transform entertainment in two years

Perhaps no company in the video game industry is as prescient as Valve. The Half-Life 2 developer foresaw the coming importance of digital distribution in 2003, fighting against market forces to launch its Steam platform. Now, more than a decade later, it sees another major change on the horizon that will change the way we play games: virtual reality. Valve's Michael Abrash — a programming veteran who helped create Windows NT and co-authored Quake with John Carmack — spoke about the...

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Jan 14 5:49a

Valve's Oculus Rift interface is a giant floating screen

Valve has updated its Steam beta client to support the Oculus Rift headset. A new mode called SteamVR reportedly consists of a "giant floating curved screen" showing the Big Picture interface that you can look around by moving your head. It's described as "experimental" and isn't fully functional, so it's not likely to replace the regular Steam interface for anyone right now. That said, it's the first step along the road to Valve fully integrating Oculus Rift and other VR headsets into its...

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Jan 10 12:53p

The virtual reality camera the Oculus Rift was waiting for

When Oculus Rift raised $75 million in funding this December, it came with high praise. "We believe Oculus will not only alter the gaming landscape but will redefine fundamental human experiences in areas like film, education, architecture, and design," venture capitalist Mark Andreessen said in a statement. It suggested a broader future for the device, maybe even one that ventures beyond the virtual environments the device has shown off so far. Could the Oculus Rift give us a view into the...

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Jan 09 12:05a

Valve reportedly about to release a standard interface for virtual reality controllers

Next week, Valve will release a software development kit that gives developers a standard way to implement controls in VR games, the BBC reports. Valve designer Brian Coomer has apparently said that the kit is "days away" and will be released at Steam Dev Days, which start on January 15th. There's not much more detail given, but the company has already said it plans to reveal a prototype that will show "what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of...

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Jan 07 7:42p

Oculus may be developing its own games with the help of John Carmack

With over $100 million in funding, Oculus is no longer merely preparing a virtual reality headset for market. The company behind the Oculus Rift has realized it needs to build an entire VR platform. Oculus previously told us it would use some of that money to assist and even help fund game developers taking a risk on the unproven technology. Now, however, Engadget is reporting that Oculus may also build its very own games.

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Plugging into Crystal Cove, the new high-resolution, position-tracking Oculus Rift

My first time using the Oculus Rift was almost exactly one year ago, when I spent a couple of minutes walking around an Alien-inspired spaceship. Since then, a lot has happened. Oculus has shipped its first version of the Rift to developers, who have taken their first steps towards making a real catalog. The company has raised $75 million in funding from Mark Andreessen and other big-name investors. And today, I got a look at the next step: a high-resolution, motion-tracking prototype known...

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Oculus reveals Crystal Cove prototype virtual reality headset with intriguing OLED display

Oculus just revealed its latest step towards consumer virtual reality: the Crystal Cove. It's a new prototype of the company's Oculus Rift virtual reality headgear, and it improves the experience in several key ways. As we reported last month, it attempts to do away with the motion blur that made some people sick. Today, the company's revealing how it managed to do that: a intriguing new OLED display.

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Jan 05 12:50p

Oculus will bring its latest virtual reality headset to CES this week

In December, Oculus VR raised $75 million in funding based partly on the promise of its latest tech: a new version of its acclaimed virtual reality headset that reportedly eliminates motion blur, incorporates full 3D motion tracking, and no longer makes people sick. Initially, the company told us that many of those features would appear in a new prototype at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, but later said it couldn't confirm what would actually be ready to demonstrate.


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Dec 23 2:00p

Virtual reality check: why controllers haven't caught up to the Oculus Rift

When you put on the Oculus Rift, a virtual-reality headset, it feels like you're in another world. You can turn your head in any direction and see things that don't exist as if they were right in front of you. But the moment is short-lived. As soon as you try to move your hands, feet, or body, the illusion begins to crumble. The Rift's immersion only extends to your head. "The virtual-reality experience is not going to be complete with just the visual side," Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey...

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Dec 20 11:31a

Oculus launches publishing arm to lure game developers to virtual reality

Oculus VR recently raised $75 million in funding to build a new, ambitious virtual reality headset, but the company is also focusing on the other side of the equation: the games. Today, Oculus announced a new publishing arm in order to entice developers to build new games for the platform. Leading the initiative is David DeMartini, former senior VP at Electronic Arts, who previously had a very similar outreach role with EA's Partners program.

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Dec 13 5:59p

'Braid' creator will support Oculus Rift with his next game, 'The Witness'

As Oculus secures $75 million in funding and embarks on the next phase of its ambitious plan, the virtual reality headset company has also received a vote of confidence from none other than famed indie game developer Jonathan Blow. The man behind Braid says that his next game, The Witness, will support the Oculus Rift. He told Engadget that his new studio Thekla was already designing the game to work with 3D televisions, and decided that it would not be "that big a step" to also support the...

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Flush with cash, Oculus plans ambitious new VR headset

According to Oculus Rift inventor Palmer Luckey, virtual reality is near and dear to Marc Andreessen’s heart. Twenty years ago — before he created the Mosaic web browser — Andreessen was a college student working in a virtual reality lab, just like Luckey himself. But that’s not why the Andreessen Horowitz venture capitalist decided to invest millions of dollars in Oculus today. The company showed him a new version of the virtual reality headset — and a new vision — that reportedly blew him...

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Dec 12 9:51p

Oculus raises $75 million to jump-start the virtual reality business

In June, Oculus raised $16 million to finish research and development on its critically acclaimed virtual-reality headgear, and today the company's taking the next step. With a new lead investor, Andreessen Horowitz, the company has now secured another $75 million in Series B funding. Marc Andreessen himself is joining the Oculus board, along with fellow partner Chris Dixon, and it's a brand-new version of the Oculus Rift headset that convinced them to join in.

Nov 22 3:52p

John Carmack resigns from id Software to focus on Oculus VR

Famed game developer John Carmack has been an instrumental part of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headgear from the start. He helped to popularize the device before Oculus became a company, and before its successful Kickstarter project. The Doom, Quake and Wolfenstein programmer believed in virtual reality so much that he joined Oculus as Chief Technical Officer in August. Now, he's quitting the game company he co-founded twenty-two years ago — id Software — to focus on virtual reality as a...

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Nov 19 5:49a

Valve to reveal virtual reality prototype, big plans for Steam support

If the Steam Controller and Steam Machine don't have you convinced that Valve's serious about getting into the gaming hardware business, how about throwing in a virtual reality headset as well? The company's Steam Dev Days event, scheduled for mid-January in Seattle, includes the tantalizing promise of debuting "a prototype which demonstrates ... what affordable Virtual Reality (VR) hardware will be capable of within a couple of years." A dedicated session about VR in general, and the kind of...

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Oct 18 3:29p

John Carmack says Oculus Rift could someday run Android, offer standalone VR experience

The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset hasn't yet made its way to consumers, but once it does, chief technology officer John Carmack envisions it one day running Android. "The way I believe it's going to play out is you will eventually have a head-mounted display that probably runs Android as a standalone system, that has a system-on-a-chip that's basically like what you have in mobile phones," Carmack said during an interview with Engadget. At least for right now, the VR device relies on...

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Oct 05 6:02a

White-knuckle 'Neuromancer' raids brought to life with Oculus Rift

An MIT Media Lab artist is working to bring one of the most visceral aspects of William Gibson’s cyberpunk classic Neuromancer to life. Case and Molly simulates the raids carried out by the book’s hacker protagonist and his mercenary partner, using a makeshift 3D camera (a pair of iPhones) and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, letting one player ride behind the other’s eyes as they solve a series of logic puzzles to advance.

According to creator Greg Borenstein, the feeling of...

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Sep 27 8:00p

iMotion kickstarts motion controllers inspired by 'Minority Report' and Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift has ignited a new round of excitement in virtual reality — but a major issue with the device is that its reliance on keyboards, mice, and traditional gaming controllers holds back just how immersive the headset can be. However, a small Singapore-based company says it has an answer to Oculus' problem. Intellect Motion has developed a hand-held device called iMotion that brings motion controls to Oculus Rift — or to any camera-equipped Mac or PC. To actually get its controller...

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Second Life updates graphics, promises Oculus Rift support 'soon'

Second Life, it seems, is getting a second lease on life. In a video today, Linden Labs announced a revamp of the now decade-old open world, which has quietly maintained a solid fanbase even as a bout of mid-2000s hype died down. The graphics seem to have gotten a notable update — you won't find the uncanny photorealism of a next-generation shooter, but the chunky solid colors of old avatars have given way to more detailed textures and better lighting. Linden Labs is also promising to make...

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Sep 24 12:21p

Experience the 'Star Wars' trench run on your Oculus Rift

If EVE Valkyrie is any indication, the Oculus Rift is a great way to virtually hop in the cockpit of a spaceship. And one developer has taken that idea to its logical conclusion by recreating Luke Skywalker's Death Star trench run from the original Star Wars. Based on the video below, it appears to be a pretty faithful recreation, both looking and sounding the part, providing perhaps the most immersive way to exploit the Death Star's biggest security flaw. You can even turn your head to see...

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Aug 20 12:39p

'EVE Valkyrie,' an Oculus Rift dogfighting game by the makers of 'EVE Online,' coming in 2014

Oculus Rift tech demo EVRwhich wowed us at E3 with its multiplayer space dogfights, is on its way to becoming a full game. This morning, EVE Online creator CCP released a trailer for EVE Valkyrie, the new name of EVR or EVE-VR, promising a 2014 release date. The teaser below shows off the game's 360-degree virtual reality combat, which looks much like what we've seen before in EVR, and more details will be announced later this year.

EVR was originally a small project meant to explore the...

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Aug 07 10:09a

'Doom' and 'Quake' legend John Carmack joins Oculus Rift team as technology chief

Video game tycoon John Carmack, responsible for helping create Doom, Quake, and more, has just joined Oculus as CTO. Carmack, who has been a supporter of the Oculus Rift VR headset from the start and helped optimize Doom 3 for an early prototype, gave the following statement:

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Aug 06 4:29p

New Oculus Rift cover shooter is so realistic, players warned not to lean on virtual objects

Groundbreaking virtual reality headset Oculus Rift has been in the hands of software developers for just a few months, and already it's been used to create some incredible simulations and gaming experiences. But a new first-person-shooter demo may offer the most immersive experience yet, letting players duck, fire around virtual crates, and rotate their guns in their hands. The "Hydra Cover Shooter" demo built by Australian developer Teddy Lipowitz utilizes two Razer Hydra motion controllers...

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Jul 23 2:39p

Oculus looks to lure indie developers with $50,000 VR Jam competition

Oculus is challenging indie developers to come up with innovative, one-of-a-kind experiences that showcase what its virtual reality headset is capable of. The company has partnered up with IndieCade to announce VR Jam, a "long-format, worldwide game jam" that will reward devs with over $50,000 in prizes. The Oculus Rift has already been put to use in plenty of unique, immersive ways, but Oculus says it's only started tapping what's possible and the company wants help building experiences...

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Jul 19 8:18a

Oculus CEO: 'we’re a lot more excited about where mobile's going'

While the Oculus Rift has captured the attention of the gaming world, its maker doesn't see consoles as its "focus" right now. Instead, the company is looking at developments in the smartphone industry in order to get the best out of its virtual reality headset. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe told Edge: "I love consoles but internally we’re a lot more excited about where mobile’s going to go, and being able to plug it right into a next-gen cellphone."

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Jun 17 7:36p

Oculus VR says plans won't change, as it raises $16 million in venture capital for its virtual reality dreams

"I have a boss now, I guess," says Oculus VR CEO Brendan Iribe. "The board." On Monday, the virtual reality headset company announced that it had finished raising $16 million in Series A venture capital led by Spark Capital and Matrix Partners, adding a new level of management in the process. Both Spark and Matrix will have seats on the Oculus board of directors, guiding the company from here on out. Will new money and new directors change any of the startup company's plans, though? Oculus...

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Jun 14 8:30a

The Oculus Rift was made for space battles: inside the virtual cockpit of 'EVR'

Even as the Oculus Rift has gotten tremendous attention from the gaming world (among other things, Epic announced a partnership with it for Unreal Engine 4), designing a good game for it has proved difficult. Virtual reality throws a wrench in well-established genres like the first-person shooter, turning something as simple as aiming into a conundrum. Oculus itself has suggested things like exploration games, but EVE Online studio CCP thinks it's found another answer: send everyone to space.


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Jun 11 3:53p

Testing the Virtuix Omni: a walk on the virtual side

This anti-treadmill could complete our Oculus Rift VR dream rig Continue reading »


Oculus Rift goes HD: our first look at virtual reality, and virtual cinema, in 1080p

Oculus VR is kicking off E3 with an upgrade to its virtual reality console, the Rift. By simply upgrading its optics from one off-the-shelf cellphone display to another, the company has upgraded the goggles to 1080p — and based on a few minutes of time with Rifts old and new, the upgrade makes a huge difference. Gone is what CEO Brendan Iribe called "the screen-door effect," and everything comes in much sharper and clearer. We played a game rendered in the newly integrated Unreal Engine 4,...

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Jun 06 2:23p

Epic announces Oculus Rift support for Unreal Engine 4

Epic Games has officially announced support for the Oculus Rift on the Unreal Engine 4. In a release today, the company announced the members of its UE4 Integrated Partners Program, a group of companies whose technology will be tightly integrated with the latest engine. Among Autodesk, Intel, Nvidia, and other big names, you'll find Oculus VR, whose virtual reality headset has captured the imagination of many gamers and developers. As Engadget points out, Epic has said before that it was...

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Jun 01 3:10p

Oculus VR lead engineer Andrew Reisse dies in tragic accident

A tragic accident has stripped Oculus VR of one of its founding members, Andrew Scott Reisse, who died on Thursday after being struck by a car involved in a police chase. As ABC Los Angeles reports, Reisse was killed in a crosswalk by suspects who were fleeing the scene of a crime.

Reisse was one of the founding members of the Oculus VR team, and worked on the virtual reality headset's integration with the Unreal engine — including the Oculus Citadel demonstration. He left his mark on...

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May 13 2:00p

Immerse yourself in fear: how Oculus Rift could change horror games

You kneel down on a wooden platform, several feet above a crowd of murmuring onlookers. To your right is a man, shouting, apparently getting the people riled up. As your gaze continues upward, you have just a moment to notice the blade resting above your neck before — thwack! — suddenly it comes down, and your head starts rolling.

Disunion is a guillotine simulator for the Oculus Rift. Like many of the demos available for the fledgling virtual reality headset, it's a bit rough: The crowd is...

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May 10 1:50a

Valve gives 'Half-Life 2' official Oculus Rift support

Last month, Valve blockbuster Half-Life 2 got an unofficial port to the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but now the publisher is making things official in a new beta build. Polygon reports that Valve’s lead programmer behind the Oculus Rift port of Team Fortress 2, Joe Ludwig, posted the news on the Oculus developer forums. Ludwig notes that the Rift port of Half-Life 2 is "a bit more raw" than Team Fortress 2’s, pointing to UI issues with the HUD and zoom controls. If you have a Rift...

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Apr 26 6:53p

'EVE Online' developer builds a virtual reality space dogfighting simulation using Oculus Rift

If you had any question whether the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset would lead to desirable new games, just ask any of the 1,500 people who attended FanFest 2013 in Iceland this year. There, EVE Online developer CCP showed off "EVR," a proof-of-concept game, which stuffs players into the virtual cockpits of a 360-degree turn-and-burn multiplayer space dogfighting simulation that appears to be set in the EVE Online universe. If reports from the conference are any indication, attendees who...

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Apr 23 10:03p

'Half-Life 2' gets virtually real with unofficial Oculus Rift and Razer Hydra motion tracking

In most video games where guns are involved, you're always aiming where you look. Now, with the help of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headgear, the Razer Hydra motion controller, and a couple of software mods, early adopters can move their head and arms independently in the immersive dystopian virtual reality of Valve's Half-Life 2.

Building on the Vireio Perception software driver — an independent project which specially formats images from a variety of popular PC games to fit the Rift...

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Apr 22 6:06p

Run, walk, and jump with the Oculus Rift using Virtuix's 360-degree treadmill

Joysticks could be a thing of the past: Virtuix will soon debut an omni-directional treadmill that can track gamers as they run, walk, and jump in every direction. The device — aptly dubbed the Omni — works alongside the Oculus Rift to form an encompassing virtual reality experience that fully replaces traditional movement controls. The company has shown off support for games including Crysis Warhead, Team Fortress 2, and Skyrim in a series of YouTube videos, but we're told that the device...

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Virtual Rx: how Oculus Rift could revolutionize mental health

It's been hailed as the holy grail of virtual reality gaming, but Oculus Rift might soon be much more than that. Though they've yet to reach the hands of regular consumers, the headsets have already been evaluated by a preeminent expert in virtual reality therapy, or VRT, the practice of immersing patients in virtual realms to treat mental health problems. His verdict? "They're a game changer for the work that we do."

"I have no question that Oculus will revolutionize virtual reality for...

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Apr 10 8:36a

Oculus Rift teardown shows how one display becomes a 3D world

Now that the Oculus Rift developers kits are finally shipping out, the teardown team at iFixit have gotten their hands on one and reduced it to its bare components. Despite the rather bulky size of the dev kit, it turns out there isn't much in there — as we've heard before, there's a single 7-inch LCD with a resolution of 1280 x 800. That works out to a 640 x 800 resolution for each eye, something we're hoping to see improve down the line to alleviate the blurriness we've experienced when...

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Mar 29 2:22p

Oculus Rift virtual reality headset developer kits are finally shipping

It's been a long road for the Oculus Rift — the virtual reality headset's Kickstarter began back in August, and was supposed to ship by the end of the year. However, things were delayed till March of 2013, but the company just announced it has made it in under the gun: Oculus Rift developer kits started shipping out to buyers earlier this week. These shipments should cover those who backed the project on Kickstarter as well as those who have purchased the headset directly from the Oculus...

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Mar 26 12:59p

I played 'Hawken' on the Oculus Rift and it made me a believer

On a breezy, sunny day in San Francisco, I joined the team behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset at a private room in a restaurant a few blocks from the 2013 Game Developers Conference. They’re showing off Hawken, a game that hasn’t been seen on the Rift until now. I’m expecting the fireworks and punchy mech-combat shown off in Hawken trailers, along with a unique 3D twist from the Rift, but I got something else entirely: the gift of flight.

In less than a year since the Oculus Rift...

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Mar 19 12:00p

Inside Oculus: a tour of virtual reality's would-be savior

A small California-based team is burning the midnight oil to put goggles on your head Continue reading »

Mar 18 12:56p

Oculus Rift working with Valve for 'Team Fortress 2' support, but 'Doom 3' won't ship with dev kit

As Oculus prepares to reveal more details about its virtual reality headset at 2013's Game Developers Conference, we're getting a bit of news beforehand — some good, some less so. In the former category, an anonymous tipster has told Road to VR that Valve will be adding Oculus Rift support to Team Fortress 2 next week. According to an allegedly leaked release, a software update sometime during GDC will enable an "experimental virtual reality mode," letting Oculus Rift development kit owners...

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Mar 09 12:12p

Oculus Rift at SXSW: is virtual reality the Holy Grail of gaming?

Cliff Bleszinski, Chris Roberts, Paul Bettner, and Palmer Luckey share their vision for the future of gaming Continue reading »

Mar 08 6:03p

Watch this: Oculus Rift inventor and Cliff Bleszinski talk virtual reality at SXSWi

We've called the Oculus Rift head-mounted display "the future of virtual reality." But what does that really mean? Perhaps you'd like to hear the answer, live on the air, from a panel of gaming luminaries. At 4PM PT today, you can join renowned game developers Chris Roberts (Wing Commander), Cliff Bleszinski (Gears of War), Paul Bettner (Words with Friends), and the inventor of the Oculus Rift himself, for a live conversation streaming to you direct from the SXSW Interactive festival in...

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Mar 05 1:45p

EA exploring Oculus Rift support for 'Battlefield 4' and 'Dragon Age III' engine

After a wave of early demonstrations, the first Oculus Rift developer kits are going out, and the question of how the Rift will be used for real-life games is becoming more important. Over at MTBS3D, a forum member unearthed an EA request for a student researcher to look into "VR technology in games," with specific mention of the Oculus Rift. Since then, site president Neil Schneider has gotten confirmation that while nothing is certain, EA is indeed weighing support for the Oculus Rift on...

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Feb 19 11:59a

'Minecraft' creator Notch receives one of the first Oculus Rift developer kits

While the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset may have faced the all-too-common delays associated with many Kickstarter projects, it appears that everything is now full steam ahead. Earlier this month, Oculus VR posted a blog detailing the manufacturing process behind the "pilot round" of 40 developer kits that were scheduled to ship by the end of March, and now we're hearing that headsets are beginning to make their way to Kickstarter backers. As reported by Road to VR, famed developer...

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Jan 31 8:16a

Josh, the Oculus Rift, and a codpiece on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

Our very own Joshua Topolsky appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon last night, sharing a stage with Jude Law, Bad Religion, and Mike Tyson. There were no boxing matches to report, but Josh did bring a host of gadgets with him. Despite a rather moist hands-on, the time-shift camera mode on BlackBerry's Z10 received a round of applause from the audience who were impressed with the ability to pick the best shot. Razer's Edge tablet also made its way onto the stage, but the real star of the...

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Jan 15 8:08p

Valve ported 'Team Fortress 2' to virtual reality, will share its thoughts at GDC 2013

We just gave the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset, our Best of CES award. Guess who else is experimenting with virtual reality? Valve Software. At the 2013 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, the same renowned video game publisher that's hard at work on the Steambox will also share its thoughts on VR, after spending a full year prototyping ways to create virtual reality hardware and software. Valve will host two 25-minute lectures entitled "Why Virtual Reality is...

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Jan 07 9:18p

Oculus Rift: deep inside the immersive, disorienting virtual reality gaming experience

We just met with the team behind the Oculus Rift, which started out as a DIY project that quickly morphed into into a Kickstarter success story. Oculus is here at CES showing off the dev kit it plans to ship out to backers in March, and got a chance to play with near-final hardware and software and see what founder Palmer Luckey hopes will be the next big sea change in gaming.

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Nov 28 2:24p

Oculus Rift gaming headset delayed, developer kits now shipping in March 2013

When the the Oculus Rift VR gaming headset hit Kickstarter in August supporters were expecting their development kits to arrive before the end of this year, but the company has hit a snag — and the kits are now set to ship in March of 2013. A detailed post on the company's blog explains that Oculus has been trying to turn around more than 7,500 kits in response to the Kickstarter campaign, but that it has been forced to make some tweaks and changes as it moved to the manufacturing process....

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Sep 26 6:31p

Oculus accepting pre-orders for Rift headset developer kit, will ship in January

The Oculus Rift head-mounted display impressed us when we tested it out earlier this year, and now the developer kit for the headset is available for pre-order. Along with a Rift unit, developers will get access to the Oculus software development kit so that they can get started on building software for the new peripheral. It's clear Oculus understands that developer support is key to the product's success, with CEO Brendan Iribe telling us last month that "Oculus is actually more of a...

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Aug 16 10:10a

Under new management, Oculus intends to commercialize the virtual reality headset

Three months ago, the Oculus Rift was the pet project of a virtual reality enthusiast, literally held together with duct tape and hot glue. Yet as of today, it's raised over $1.6 million on Kickstarter due to thousands of similar virtual reality enthusiasts who want one too. Next year, though, you may not have to be a hobbyist or fund a grassroots project to experience what gaming luminaries like John Carmack are calling "the best VR demo probably the world has ever seen." That's because...

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Aug 01 12:32p

Oculus Rift virtual reality gaming goggles launched on Kickstarter (update: funded)

The Oculus Rift virtual gaming prototype we tried out with John Carmack has come to Kickstarter. Oculus, led by VR enthusiast Palmer Luckey, is building what it hopes will be one of the first feasible head-mounted VR displays for gaming; it's asking for at least $250,000 to perfect and ship developer versions of the device by December. The headset comes with a wide field of view, low-latency head tracking, and a "high resolution display" that we're hoping is clearer than the one we saw back...

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May 30 10:02a

'Doom 3' in virtual reality: we check out John Carmack's prototype head mounted display

Id Software has just announced Doom 3 BFG Edition, a "director's cut" of the 2004 first-person shooter with new missions as well as refined visuals and gameplay mechanics — including a flashlight on the vest so you can have light while you shoot. But buried in the press release, there's one line in particular that's worth paying attention to: the game will include new support for 3D TVs and head mounted displays. This shouldn't be surprising to those who follow John Carmack on Twitter — he's...

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